||Report from Dakar
photos and text by
Senegal is a complex, open and generally
stable society, less than five decades after independence from colonialism
Dakar, the capital, is a cosmopolitan city thriving despite struggling
with material want and against the stereotyped notion of Africans as hopeless
basket cases. There is no famine here. There is no AIDs crisis. No genocide.
Dakar is peopled with individuals who are extracting every last drop of
hope and hard-earned profit from a still-difficult economy. And they do
it with a quiet — sometimes fierce — dignity seen in their
eyes; with, perhaps, a graceful hand gesture, or kind word, or bawdy wit;
or with an outfit which may in fact be the only piece of fashionable clothing
a person owns, but impeccably turned out.
Here, then, are a handful of images from modern-day Dakar, balancing individual
dignity, a rich cultural heritage, and desires fueled by ever-present